Friday, January 8, 2010

Jasper and the Stoned Monkey

It just occurred to me that the title of this post would make a great children's book....if the mother of those children were Lindsey Lohan or one of those other recent Hollywood train wrecks!

Jasper has been having a marvelous time here in the new apartment. He likes my couch much more than Mom and Dad's because of the heavily padded armrests, and he's thrilled with the enormous windows that he can peek out of. There's a long corridor past my apartment, and Jasper enjoys running down it and back about six times per day (each time, he has the most exhilarated expression on his face). Jasper also likes my recliner, which he discovered is great for hiding bones. But no item here brings him as much joy as his newest favorite toy...

When I was out looking for a towel rack at Big Lots the other day, I noticed that their Christmas items were all fifty percent off. As I glanced through the Christmas section, I came across an odd dog toy - a white stuffed monkey, wearing a santa hat and a scarf. Now I realize that so far this toy sounds pretty normal, but bear with me. The odd, eye-catching thing about this toy is its eyes. This monkey has enormous crazy eyes that give him the expression of someone who is completely stoned (no Mother, I do not know what a stoned person looks like from personal experience seeing one). In a way, the monkey is actually pretty creepy. However, since it has long arms and legs and a squeaker in its tummy, and only cost a dollar, I thought Jasper might like it.

It was love at first sight! Jasper absolutely adores his stoned monkey! He runs races through the apartment, with his monkey flapping in his mouth. He takes naps with his monkey serving as a pillow. He even taught his monkey how to play fetch: Jasper grabs the monkey by an arm, leg, or scarf, and then flings it as far as he can (which is surprisingly far). Then he joyously races after it and retrieves it. Finally, a completely interactive dog toy!

The funniest thing is the staring contests. That's right, my Jasper, who loves to have stare-downs with me, now engages in them with a stuffed monkey. He sticks his monkey on the couch, and then stares deeply into its swirly, doped-up eyes. Usually these bouts last for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the monkey always wins. After minutes of staring intently into the stoned monkey's eyes, Jasper whimpers, averts his gaze, whimpers again, and then either flings the monkey for the initiation of another game of monkey-fetch, or he crawls into my lap for comfort. I'm not sure if the monkey's eyes frighten Jasper, or if he just feels sad about losing the staring contests.

Photographic evidence of the Jasper vs. Stoned Monkey staring contests. About a minute after I snapped this picture, Jasper admitted defeat with a whimper, and then hid his ashamed head in my lap.

Isn't this the creepiest toy monkey you've ever seen? No wonder Jasper whimpers after every staring match!

Having engaged in a staring contest, played a rousing game of fetch, and wrestled ferociously together, Jasper and his stoned monkey settle down for a lengthy cuddle.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"